Our Adventures in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a small country, just 22,000 square miles, but is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes. From cloud forests to volcanos, beaches, dry forests, and so much more, Costa Rica has a vast array of landscapes to explore. Here is a look at our 2 week Costa Rica itinerary!
We took a guided 2-week tour through Rainforest and Reef where we traveled with our guide Luis through northwest Costa Rica. He took us to some truly incredible locations and taught us about the ecosystems, animals, and Costa Rican history while we were out exploring.
We chose not to bring our digital cameras with us for this trip and instead tried out film! The pictures are far from perfect but we had an easier time staying in the moment and not worrying about getting the "perfect picture". I assumed that the transition from digital to film would be a fairly easy one, but 5 rolls of film proved that wrong when I only ended up liking 10 photos! After trying it out, we're hoping to incorporate it more on our future adventures and improve our, clearly lackluster skills.
2 Week Costa Rica Itinerary - Overview
- Day One: San Jose, Costa Rica
- Day Two: Sunset Horseback Riding in Costa Rica - Monteverde, Costa Rica
- Day Three: Hiking through Santa Elena Reserve and Curi-Cancha Reserve
- Day Four: Children’s Eternal Rainforest, Costa Rica
- Day Five: La Leona Waterfall
- Day Six: Rincon De La Vieja National Park Guanacaste, Costa Rica
- Day Seven: Santa Rosa National Park and Junquillal Wildlife Refuge
- Day Eight: Travel Day
- Day Nine: Tortuga Island Snorkeling
- Day Ten: Beach Day in Montezuma, Costa Rica
- Day Eleven: Cabo Blanco Biological Reserve
- Day Twelve: San Jose, Costa Rica
- Day Thirteen: Flight Home
Day One: San Jose, Costa Rica
On the first day of our trip, we flew to San Jose, Costa Rica. The airport experience was super easy and customs was incredibly fast, we flew in fairly late so we went straight to our hotel and passed out.
Day Two: Sunset Horseback Riding in Costa Rica - Monteverde, Costa Rica
We woke up in San Jose and headed to Monteverde. One of the most popular locations in Costa Rica, Monteverde is the central point of Costa Rica’s continental divide. It sits in the cloud forest of Costa Rica, creating an extremely diverse landscape home to tens of thousands of insects, 2,500 plant species, 400 bird species, and over 100 mammals.
The drive to Monteverde was intense. I was SO grateful to have a driver once we started up the windy steep roads that lead us through the mountains and into town. The ride was about 4 hours in total but had incredible views!
Once we made it to Monteverde we checked into our hotel (Hotel Heliconia) and got ready for a horseback ride.
Our horseback ride was through Extremeo Park Monteverde and was about 2 hours in total. We traveled through farmland and mountains, making it to the summit for sunset, where they served us cake and juice. You can read more about our interesting experience here!
Day Three: Hiking through Santa Elena Reserve and Curi-Cancha Reserve
Santa Elena Reserve, Costa Rica
Santa Elena is a cloud forest reserve that rivals the extremely popular Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most popular locations in Costa Rica and is the world's most-visited cloud forest. Because of its popularity, if you’re looking to see wildlife, it may be difficult. Santa Elena Reserve is in the quiet town of Santa Elena and is far less popular, making it the perfect wildlife scouting location.
The forest here was incredible. The trunks of the trees were covered in leaves and vines, vines hung from the top of the forest canopy down to the trail, the diversity was incredible and we spotted so many birds and new species.
Curi-Cancha Reserve, Costa Rica
Curi-Cancha Reserve is another quiet reserve near Monteverde. When we got there we immediately saw a massive group of white-faced capuchin monkies hanging out in a tree next to the parking lot. Throughout our hikes, we so much wildlife from armadillos to coatis to a variety of hummingbird species.
Day Four: Children’s Eternal Rainforest, Costa Rica
Children’s Eternal Rainforest is the largest private reserve in Costa Rica and we just spent the day hiking a few of the trails and bird watching!
Day Five: La Leona Waterfall
I made another blog post just for this experience! We hiked through a dry forest, explored some bat caves, went cliff jumping, and swam in a waterfall. If you want to hear more about that experience, click here!
Day Six: Rincon De La Vieja National Park Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Rincon De La Vieja National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in Costa Rica. It is home to the Ricon De La Vieja and Santa Maria volcanos. 3 days after we left one of the volcanos actually erupted! We hiked to thermal hot springs, volcanic vents, mud pots, and saw anteaters and monkies.
After hiking we found a river on the side of the road and spent a few hours relaxing in the cool water.
Day Seven: Santa Rosa National Park and Junquillal Wildlife Refuge
Santa Rosa National Park is one of Costa Rica’s first national parks. It is the site of the Battle of Santa Rosa, a monumental battle in the history of Costa Rican independence. We hiked around the park for a little bit, learning about the history and checking out the many iguanas. Then we headed to Junquillas Wildlife Refuge. We hiked through mangroves next to a river, where we were highly advised not to go in since alligators frequently hunted in the area. It was an extremely quiet park, just us and maybe 5 other people, allowing us to see so much wildlife, including a huge family of capuchin monkeys that watched us while we hiked. We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach and swimming in the surprisingly cold water.
Day Eight: Travel Day
Day Nine: Tortuga Island Snorkeling
We woke up in Montezuma, Costa Rica, and headed out on a snorkeling adventure at Tortuga Island. The guides were incredible, handing us beers at 9 am and inviting us to the local club for the big party happening that weekend. The boat ride out to the snorkeling site was spectacular, we stopped at rainbow rock and a shipwreck before we hopped in the water. Snorkeling was an unforgettable experience. It was my first time and it took me a while to grasp the whole don't go underwater aspect so I did swallow quite a bit of seawater in the first 20 minutes. Once I got the hang of it, it was incredible! We saw so many schools of fish, a reef shark, way too many sea urchins, and so much more. After snorkeling, we spent the day relaxing on the beach and drinking fresh-made Pina Coladas!
Did we attempt an underwater photoshoot with film cameras? Yes. Did they come out? No, but I love them anyway.
Day Ten: Beach Day in Montezuma, Costa Rica
Waking up we realized we had killer sunburns and were still exhausted after snorkeling so we opted for a relaxing beach day instead of more hiking. We spent the morning walking the coastline and checking out the smaller beaches in the area. The UV index was 11 by noon so we spent most of the afternoon inside, shopping downtown and napping away heat exhaustion. After the UV index started to decrease we headed out to the beach for some bodysurfing (or attempting to bodysurf)! We spent about 4 hours in the water trying to surf the 14-foot waves. Ryan eventually got the hang of it but I just got pummeled by the waves instead.
Day Eleven: Cabo Blanco Biological Reserve
We headed to the first nature reserve ever founded in Costa Rica, Cabo Blanco Biological Reserve! We did a pretty challenging 6-mile hike through the tropical forest that opened up to an amazing rocky beach. The heat was so intense and we underestimated the amount of water we needed so by the time we reached the beach both of us were exhausted and almost out of water. We swam in the water for a few minutes to cool down then immediately started the trek back through the forest. At the end of the hike, I had really bad heat exhaustion and could barely focus on anything other than not throwing up. We got really lucky and ended up being fine, but it easily could have gone really wrong.
Day Twelve: San Jose, Costa Rica
Most of the day was spent in the car driving from Montezuma to San Jose. Before we went to the hotel we stopped by a local craft market.
Day Thirteen: Flight Home
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Hey, We're Bridget & Ryan!
Adventurers turned adventure wedding photographers specializing in national park and hiking elopements! We help couples craft a wedding day that feels authentic to them in a meaningful and epic location. Life's an adventure, let's make your wedding one too!
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